An Enid soldier known for his dedication to the military and his family was one of four U.S. soldiers killed by an explosion in Iraq, his family said Monday.
Staff Sgt. Chris Hake, 26, was killed when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle Sunday as he patrolled in a southern Baghdad neighborhood, said Hake's father, Peter Hake.
"Two officers from Fort Sill came to the house today," Peter Hake said. "It's one of those days we always knew could happen."
The deaths of Hake and three other U.S. soldiers pushed to 4,000 the number of American service members killed as the war enters its sixth year. Another soldier was wounded in the attack, the military said.
The Associated Press count of 4,000 deaths is based on U.S. military reports and includes eight civilians who worked for the Department of Defense.
Hake, a 2000 graduate of Oklahoma Bible Academy in Enid, is the 65th Oklahoma soldier to die in Iraq.
Peter Hake said his son was on his second deployment to Iraq and loved serving in the military.
"This deployment, he told me, 'You couldn't pay me to come home early.' He loved what he was doing," Hake said. "He was a squad leader and loved his guys that worked under him.
"He said they would die for each other, and they did."
Peter Hake said his son lived in Hinesville, Ga., with his wife, Kelli, a Stillwater native, and infant son, Gage.
Mark Shuck, the principal at Oklahoma Bible Academy, said the news of Hake's death hit hard at the small Christian school in Enid.
"It was definitely a shock today to hear it," Shuck said. "It obviously is a face to a war that some people haven't had a face to put with it."
Shuck remembered Hake as a quiet, caring student who developed a close bond with his classmates.
"He was quietly compassionate. He generally cared for people," Shuck said. "I don't know that he was ever out to draw attention to himself."